Community Sailing Underserved

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ONTHEBAYAunderserved New York City youth through sailing and marine education.

The organization’s innovative after school program prepares students for college and career from the time they enter high school through college.

Founded in 2007 to leverage sailing as a tool to develop leadership and academic success for underserved youth and provide affordable maritime recreation to the larger community, since its inception HRCS has served over 2500 youth and thousands more in its public and membership programs. HRCS currently partners with seven public schools where on average 71 percent of the students receive free or reduced lunch. The organization’s first year students earn academic credit in mathematics, science, and physical education. Some 82 percent of students enrolled this past year earned academic credit.

After year one, students continue to receive ongoing academic support, internship opportunities, ongoing homework help, college readiness curriculum, mentoring, sailboat racing, advanced sailing skills and career discovery.

One hundred percent of HRCS’s first graduating class in 2014 are attending college in the fall. The HRCS annual budget for youth programs is $24,000. We serve over 130 students in our long-term engagement programs, and hundreds more on shorter courses.

Hudson River Community Sailing is located on Pier 66 and has 10 J24s in the Hudson. They also serve at-risk middle and high school students by teaching them core STEM (science, technology engineering and math) courses directly related to sailing.

The students build their own Optimist (a small pram-like boat for beginning sailors) that gets launched in the Hudson. The kids who build these boats learn all about navigation and how to sail, first in the classroom, and then out on the water in a J24s. It is incredible how empowered these kids get from this experience.

HRCS is having its annual “Sailing for Scholars” benefit on Oct. 17 and 18. The Cocktail Reception and Silent Auction will be held at New York Yacht Club in the Model Room on Friday, Oct. 17, from 6 to 8:30 pm.

On Saturday, Oct. 18, the organization will host its benefit regatta at the Hudson River Community Sailing Boathouse at Pier 66 in Chelsea. First signal is 1:30 pm and will be followed by an awards ceremony. The full schedule for the 5th Annual Sailing for Scholars Benefit Reception is available online at: www.hudsonsailing.org/sfs/

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Of course, many local racers will be entered in the Manhasset Bay Fall Series (Oct. 18-19 and Oct. 25) and will be unable to race in the Benefit Regatta. But…you don’t have to race to support these kids. There are varying levels of sponsorship – check it out on their website.

Some examples of how sponsor dollars are used at HRCS include: $2,000 that gives a student a year of science, math and sailing; $1,000 that provides enough supplies for students to build a small sailboat; $750 that provides food and supplies for the annual First Mate overnight sailing expedition for students; $500 that sends one student to City sail for a week; $250 that will buy four water testing kits and magnifying glasses; and $150 to buy four life jackets. For more information: www.hudsonsailing.org

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While we are on the subject of sailing and non-profits…Scuttlebutt, the online, daily newsletter brought this news to its readers:

On May 9, 2013, Andrew “Bart” Simpson tragically died in a training accident in San Francisco bay while preparing for the America’s Cup competition. The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation created Bart’s Bash to remember Olympic gold medalist ‘Bart’ Simpson, to inspire the next generation of sailors, to encourage clubs to open their doors and to fundraise in support their foundation’s charitable programs. The event took place on Sept. 21 and has set the new Guinness World Record for the Largest Sailing Race (24 hours).

While the Bart’s Bash technical team are still processing the data submitted by some of the 768 venues that took part, the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation has announced that the threshold of 2,500 boats sailing in regattas including at least 25 boats, the key criteria to meet the record, has been reached. This announcement comes after processing the results of 3,600 boats that have sailed over 10,000,000 meters in total, which equals 18 percent of the data the organization expects to receive in the coming days.

“The event has proved a huge success and we are delighted to announce that, subject to ratification, we have set the new Guinness World Record. And we have done it in style with 82 percent of the results still to be processed,” said Richard Percy, CEO of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. “The turnout on Sept. 21 exceeded our expectations and we are very happy that we provided a truly global opportunity for people to come together and enjoy sailing. We hope this event will become a regular feature in the global sailing calendar.”

The event was a worldwide celebration of sailing, attracting over 18,000.

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Andrea Watson is a Port Washington-based maritime photographer and journalist. She writes Manhasset Press' column On The Bay and is currently the Executive Secretary of the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound (YRALIS).

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